MANILA, Philippines - The welfare of Filipino workers in Laos will top the agenda of the two-day visit to the Philippines of Laos' Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sisoulith Thongloun.
In a statement posted Monday on the Department of Foreign Affairs website, the department said the minister's visit was to take place Monday and Tuesday.
It noted that there are about 239 highly skilled Filipino workers in Laos, the largest group of which are hotel workers. There are also teachers, nurses, engineers, accountants, office workers and consultants for the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and other international organizations, it noted.
"These Filipino workers are greatly appreciated by the people and government of Laos because of their valuable contribution to the country's economic development. The current generation of Filipino workers in Laos are often likened to their predecessors in the USAID-funded Operation Brotherhood (OB) of the past half-century," the DFA said.
During the visit, the visiting official will also reaffirm the strong bilateral relations between the two countries.
"The Deputy Prime Minister will meet with his counterpart, Vice President Manuel 'Noli' De Castro Jr. He will discuss... ways of further strengthening Philippines-Lao bilateral relations, specifically, the contributions and continued participation of Filipino workers in the socio-economic and cultural development of Lao PDR," DFA said.
Thongloun, who also handles the Foreign Ministry portfolio of the Lao government, will also meet with DFA secretary Alberto Romulo to discuss ways by which the Philippines and Laos can further cooperate in advancing the objectives of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
Among the objectives are the early realization of the Asean Community and ratification of the Asean Charter.
Diplomatic relations between the Republic of the Philippines and the Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR) were established shortly after Laos' independence from France in July 1949. But both countries established resident missions in their respective capitals only in 1997 following the entry of Laos into the Asean in July 1997. - GMANews.TV